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By Mark Haranas & Steven Burke, on CRN.com Jan 26 2018

Just 16 months after completing the largest acquisition in IT history, Dell Technologies reportedly is looking to file for an IPO or buy the rest of VMware, according to multiple reports.

The Round Rock, Texas-based company’s board is expected to meet later this month to discuss the options in an effort to raise cash and increase sales, according to a Bloomberg news report.

Dell also is considering a public share sale for its Pivotal Software Inc. cloud computing venture, according to Bloomberg. Dell met with bankers last year to discuss a potential Pivotal IPO and was told the company was valued at $5 billion to $7 billion, according to Bloomberg.

The move to consider strategic alternatives like an IPO comes five years after Dell Technologies founder and CEO Michael Dell completed the largest private equity buyout in history, taking Dell private in a $25 billion deal.

Dell followed that blockbuster move up three years later with a deal to buy storage market leader EMC in a $67 billion deal. The IPO could help Dell pay off the massive debt from the EMC acquisition. Dell has around $46 billion in debt remaining from the deal.

EMC owned 80 percent of VMware when it was acquired by Dell. VMware is now a tracking stock whose shares have increased by more than 60 percent over the past twelve months.

Bob Venero, CEO of Holbrook, N.Y.-based solution provider Future Tech, No. 119 on the 2017 CRN Solution Provider 500, said he believes Dell is more likely to buy out the rest of VMware rather than any kind of initial public offering.

“A 100 percent of acquisition of VMware would be a genius move on Michael’s part in my view based on the footprint that VMware has and the future view of what enterprise customers are doing globally around virtualization,” said Venero. “There is no doubt in my mind that Michael can create an agnostic customer-centric approach that would make VMware part of Dell and also support the multitude of OEMs utilizing VMware today.”

Dell has already been evaluating whether to bring VMware, which is majority-owned by Dell, inside its Dell EMC unified channel partner program umbrella. In May, CRN reported that an executive task force was formed to explore the possibility of rolling VMware and SecureWorks into the company’s partner program.

As for the possibility of an IPO, Venero said he sees that as very unlikely given the game-changing benefits Dell has achieved by going private. “When Michael took Dell private the great thing that he [gained] was the freedom to be more innovative and to invest longer term in technologies, solutions and the channel without the Wall Street quarterly shot clock,” said Venero.

No matter what strategic path Dell takes, Venero said he is confident the company is going to be successful under the leadership of Michael Dell. “What Michael has created is the only full turnkey end-to-end vendor out there in the market,” said Venero. “Michael has created an industry de facto leader and a one-stop shop for customers. Michael has proven time and time again that when he sets his mind on something that benefits him, his company and customers, he will make it happen regardless of the odds.”